May 15, 2004

My Home Town

Here's a story from my home town, Aurora, IL:

AURORA They hope to stop bullies, build youngsters' self esteem and give teenagers in trouble a second chance to avoid the court system.

They hope to form a network of Hispanic parents and teach adolescents how to avoid domestic-violence situations.

They hope to reach children before it's too late.

Officials announced Friday that seven local anti-violence programs will receive funding in the first round of grants under a city-backed initiative announced last year.

"These are dollars that are going to programs that are actually at work," said Vicki Stull, a member of the executive committee of Aurora Cares Corp., the community organization charged with choosing the projects to fund. "There are tangible results."

The city last year committed to annual $125,000 grants for four years for programs aimed specifically at fighting gang violence in Aurora. The $500,000 in grants, allocated from gaming tax revenue, will go toward efforts independent of city services.

Sound like your basic local governemnt program to this point. But here's the weird part:

Several of the agencies receiving funding asked for the money to develop and enhance programs at Bardwell Elementary School, chosen as a testing ground in the first year.

I remember having to play Bardwell in basketball in the 6th grade. They were very physical -- but there weren't any teenagers attending Bardwell then!

Posted by Charles Austin at May 15, 2004 11:11 PM

I'm a former Downers Grove-ian, and I always remembered Aurora as having kids you didn't want to mess with. My grandmother lived in Oswego for several years back in the 70's, and my aunt lives in Batavia. As some of the "tonier" suburbs (like Naperville and Oak Brook) get more expensive, the people who do the grunt work in that area have to live somewhere. A few of them live in some of the rough neighborhoods in Aurora.

Posted by: MarcV at 09:33 AM